Tom Meyers Has Been Hailed As A Hero
By SEAN McNEALY
Journal & Topics Reporter
Rosemont Public Safety Department employee Tom Meyers has been hailed as a hero and good Samaritan following his assistance in a rollover accident on the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88) near Oak Brook last Monday, July 22.
Meyers, 27, of Montgomery, said he was driving from his full-time job as a firefighter and paramedic in Rosemont to his part-time firefighting job near Aurora that morning when he saw a maroon Ford Ranger on its side.
Meyers said he used skills he learned in training to address the situation. The quick extrication involved removing the windshield with a crowbar provided by construction workers at the scene and cutting the seat belt. He said it took about 10 minutes to get the driver, Orlando Hernandez, 32, of Chicago, out of the vehicle, but that it felt like forever.
Meyers was one of at least eight people who worked to free Hernandez from the flipped vehicle, he said.
According to Illinois State Police, the incident occurred at 6:47 a.m. when a tire blewout on a Ford Ranger traveling westbound on I-88. Hernandez was trapped when the blowout caused the vehicle to rollover on its side. The Oak Brook Fire Department transported Hernandez to an area hospital for non-life threatening injuries. The vehicle was totaled.
“It’s a perfect example of how seat belts can save lives,” Meyers said. “He didn't do anything wrong, his tire just popped and not wearing a seat belt could have been a game changer.”
Hernandez visited Rosemont Fire Station No. 1 last week and met with Meyers. Meyers said Hernandez escaped the accident with just a few lacerations and bruises.
“I think in this job, when see people for the 15 minutes of transport but not the aftermath, good or bad, it’s a relief to see he is okay,” Meyers said. “It was nice to see people come together to help for the right reasons.”
ABC 7’s traffic chopper captured footage of the incident and rescue efforts as it unfolded. Illinois State Police said investigation of the crash is ongoing.